The news is out: [Over the past five years, Robert F. Smith became one of the nation’s most prominent billionaire philanthropists.
During that time, he put up $20 million for Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. He donated tens of millions more to national parks, breast cancer research, Carnegie Hall and paying the student debts of a Morehouse College graduating class. This spring, he pushed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Ivanka Trump to have $10 billion in government coronavirus relief set aside for lenders in low-income neighborhoods.
Throughout this munificence, though, Smith had a secret: He’d played a role in what federal prosecutors allege was the biggest tax evasion scheme in U.S. history, an effort by his longtime associate, Texas billionaire Robert Brockman, to hide $2 billion from tax authorities in an offshore scheme featuring a computer program called Evidence Eliminator and code names such as “Redfish” and “Snapper.”
Smith, whose code name was “Steelhead,” according to prosecutors, has admitted to hiding profits in offshore accounts and filing false tax returns for ten years. He is cooperating with investigators and faces no charges. But his complicity in the alleged tax crimes has stunned the many who had seen a role model in the charismatic 57-year-old entrepreneur, often ranked as the wealthiest Black person in the United States.]
All the money couldn’t help him change the color of his skin.